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Great Singapore Sale teams up with Lazada; says move is 'timely' amid return to Phase 2 restrictions

Great Singapore Sale teams up with Lazada; says move is 'timely' amid return to Phase 2 restrictions

People are seen wearing a protective face mask at Orchard Road, Singapore on Jan 28.

SINGAPORE: The Great Singapore Sale (GSS) will team up with online shopping platform Lazada this year – a move that its organisers said is “timely” amid the country’s return to stricter COVID-19 measures and a transformed retail scene.

The annual shopping affair, which started 27 years ago, will run from Jun 6 to Jul 7, said the Singapore Retailers Association (SRA) on Wednesday (May 12). 

The campaign went online for the first time last year amid the pandemic, with livestreaming activities and virtual workshops held over four weeks on SRA’s online platform.

READ: Held online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, how did the Great Singapore Sale fare this year?

With the pandemic far from over and the recent rise in Singapore's community infections prompting a return to Phase 2 restrictions until end-May, the SRA said it hopes to tap on Lazada’s expertise in helping retailers to move online. 

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on consumer shopping habits and accelerated retailers’ urgency to expand their digital presence quickly so as to stay engaged with their consumers and develop alternative sales channels,” said SRA’s president R Dhinakaran in a press release.

“Our partnership with Lazada this GSS is timely, in light of tighter SMM (safe management measures) guidelines limiting shopper traffic to stores and malls, and a changed retail landscape,” he added.

READ: Singapore will have to tighten COVID-19 measures 'promptly' if necessary to curb spread, avoid second circuit breaker: PM Lee

The recent tightening of safety measures will be in place until May 30, a week before the start of the GSS. 

Asked if the SRA is preparing for the possibility that stricter rules could last longer, Mr Dhinakaran said it would be difficult for him to predict the duration of these rules but SRA hopes to continue having an online aspect for the annual sale given changes in the industry.

“Every retailer will understand that the seamless integration of their physical stores with the online (world) is critical for today’s success,” he told reporters at a hybrid press conference. “We think Lazada is one of the right partners to grow this online-offline relationship to a much higher level.”

Mr Dhinakaran added: “(The GSS) is one of the signature events every year … and we want to try various ways and means to improve … in order to make it much more successful and growing.”

WATCH: Local brands turn to co-retailing spaces to save costs

The GSS this year will be a four-week affair with weekly thematic sales across different product categories, such as technology, groceries, home, baby, fashion, as well as health and beauty. It will kick off with Lazada’s monthly sale campaign on Jun 6 before ending with the platform’s other sale event on Jul 7.

Apart from promotions, there will be “shoppertainment” livestreams and games, said Lazada Singapore’s chief executive James Chang.

More than 80,000 brands on Lazada’s platform are expected to participate in this year’s GSS, in addition to the 100 member brands from SRA.

A key feature of the sale this year is to allow shoppers to make purchases at a retail brand’s online store on Lazada and pick them up at the brand’s physical outlet.

This feature gives customers an additional delivery option and offers retailers a "hybrid operating model" while helping them build up their online presence, said the organisers.

Commentary: A return to Phase 2 could be a momentary setback to Singapore’s economic recovery

Retailers can benefit from Lazada’s technology infrastructure, payments gateway and delivery solutions with third-party logistics partners. This eliminates many costly barriers that retailers face when selling online, the organisers added.

Each retailer will also have a dedicated account manager to navigate features such as flash sales and Lazada's livestreaming service LazLive. 

To incentivise retailers, especially small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), those new to its LazMall marketplace for brands and authorised distributors will not have to pay commission for the first three months.

SRA’s Mr Dhinakaran said through the pandemic, many retailers have “come to view e-commerce platforms not as competitors, but an imperative for business growth and consumer acquisition”.

But even with government grants, a minority group of SMEs who never had experience in online retail still face difficulties such as logistics and putting in place new systems.

Lazada will be able to “hand-hold” these SMEs, said Mr Dhinakaran.

“They can tailor-make according to the size of the companies, and what kind of products they are doing. They are professionals in the (online) field and will guide what is suitable for the retailer,” he added.

IN FOCUS: After COVID-19, where are the Singapore economy, workforce headed?

Lazada's Mr Chang said the platform hopes to do its part to rally the retail industry during a challenging period and equip the industry with the necessary tools.

“By supporting sellers with the tools they need to move their businesses online, we’re helping them be prepared for the future – both during the pandemic and beyond,” he said.

Source: CNA/cy

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